The following pages contain an annotated sample marketing plan for Blue Sky Clothing. At some point in your career, you will likely be involved in writing —or at least contributing to –a marketing plan. And you’ll certainly read many marketing plans throughout your business career. Keep in mind that the plan for Blue Sky is a single example; no one format is used by all companies. Also, the Blue Sky plan has been somewhat condensed to make it easier to annotate and illustrate the most vital features. The important point to remember is that the marketing plan is a document designed to present concise, cohesive information about a company’s marketing objectives to managers, lending institutions, and others who are involved in creating and carrying out the firm’s overall business strategy.

Five-Year Marketing Plan Blue Sky Clothing, Inc.
This five-year marketing plan for Blue Sky Clothing has been created by its two founders to secure additional funding for growth and to inform employees of the company’s current status and direction. Although Blue Sky was launched only three years ago, the firm has experienced greater-than-anticipated demand for its products, and research as shown that the target market of sport-minded consumers and sports retailers would like to buy more casual clothing than Blue Sky currently offers. They are also interested in extending their product line as well as adding new product lines. In addition, Blue Sky plans to explore opportunities for online sales. The marketing environment has been very receptive to the firm’s high-quality goods—casual clothing in trendy colors with logos and slogans that reflect the interests of outdoor enthusiasts around the country. Over the next five year, Blue Sky can increase its distribution, offer new products, and win new customers.
The executive summary outlines the who, what , where, when , how, and why of the marketing plan. Blue Sky is only three years old and is successful enough that it now needs a formal marketing plan to obtain additional financing from a bank or private investors for expansion and the launch of new products.

Blue Sky Clothing was founded three years ago by entrepreneurs Lucy Neuman and Nick Russell, Neuman has an undergraduate degree in marketing and worked for several years in the retail clothing industry. Russell operated an adventure business called Go West!, which arranges group trips to locations in Wyoming, Montana, and Idaho, before selling the enterprise to a partner. Neuman and Russell, who have been friends since college, decided to develop and market a line of clothing with a unique —yet universal— appeal to outdoor enthusiasts. Blue Sky Clothing reflects Neuman’s and Russell’s passion for the outdoors. The company’s original cotton T-shirts, baseball caps, and fleece jackets and vests bear logos of different sports —such as kayaking, mountain climbing, bicycling, skating, surfing, and horseback riding. But every item shows off the company’s slogan: “Go Play Outside.” Blue Sky sells clothing for both men and women, in the hottest colors with the coolest names—such as sunrise pink, sunset red, twilight purple, desert rose, cactus green, ocean blue, mountaintop white, and river rock gray. Blue Sky attire is currently carried by small retail stores that specialize in outdoor clothing and gear. Most of these stores are concentrated in northern New England, California, the Northwest, and a few states in the South. The high quality, trendy colors, and unique message of the clothing have gained Blue Sky a following among consumers between the ages of 25 and 45. Sales have tripled in the last year alone, and Blue Sky is currently working to expand its manufacturing capabilities.

The company description summarizes the history of Blue Sky—how it was founded and by whom, what its products are, and why they are unique. It begins to “sell” the reader on the growth possibilities for Blue Sky.

increase distribution. Blue Sky seeks to achieve the following financial and nonfinancial goals:  1. As the company finalizes plans for new products and expanded Internet sales. Financial Goals Obtain financing to expand manufacturing capabilities.  4.Blue Sky is also committed to giving back to the community by contributing to local conservation programs. casual clothing for consumers who love the outdoors. and threats. No other clothing company can say to its customers with as much conviction “Go Play Outside”! This section reminds employees as well as those outside the company (such as potential lenders) exactly what Blue Sky does so well and how it plans to achieve a sustainable competitive advantage over rivals. delivering the requested number of products on schedule. as Blue Sky considers expansion of its product line and entrance into new markets. Blue Sky wants to inspire people to get outdoors more often and enjoy family and friends while doing so. the growing number of brand-loyal customers. including southwestern and Mid-Atlantic States. Blue Sky’s goals include growth and profits for the company as well as the ability to contribute to society through conservation programs. BLUE SKY’S MISSION AND GOALS Blue Sky’s mission is to be the leading producer and marketer of personalized. the firm will have to guard against marketing myopia (the failure to recognize the scope of its business) and quality slippages. . while maintaining strong relationships with retailers. CORE COMPETENCIES Blue Sky seeks to use its core competencies to achieve a sustainable competitive advantage. During the next five years. Enter new geographic markets. It is important to state a firm’s mission and goals. In addition. enter new markets. branded product whose image is recognizable among consumers. 7. The SWOT analysis presents a thumbnail sketch of the company’s position in the marketplace. Blue Sky strives to design programs for preserving the natural environment. 5. (2) creating a sense of community among consumers who purchase the products. opportunities. Blue Sky has built some impressive strengths while looking forward to new opportunities. By forming strong relationships with consumers. and consumers to determine how best to attract and keep customers. retailers. Ultimately. and (3) developing a reputation among retailers as a reliable manufacturer. Donate at least $25. Blue Sky has developed core competencies in (1) offering a high-quality. The firm intends to build on these competencies through marketing efforts that increase the number of products offered as well as distribution outlets. Develop a successful Internet site. and give back to the community. It also contains some challenges that the firm believes it can meet successfully. its management will also have to guard against competitors who attempt to The situation analysis provides an outline of the marketing environment. opportunities. Nonfinancial goals Introduce two new product lines—customized logo clothing and lightweight luggage. 6. This plan will outline how Blue Sky intends to introduce new products. and threats. including financial and nonfinancial goals. SITUATION ANALYSIS The marketing environment for Blue Sky represents overwhelming opportunities. Develop its own conservation program aimed at helping communities raise money to purchase open space. Increase revenues by at least 50 percent each year. Table A illustrates a SWOT analysis of the company conducted by marketers to highlight Blue Sky’s strengths. in which competitors cannot provide the same value to consumers that Blue Sky does.000 a year to conservation organizations. competitors. Note that here and throughout the plan. weaknesses. Already. the company would like to develop and fund its own environmental programs. 2. and suppliers of fabric and other goods and services. 3. A SWOT analysis helps marketers and others identify clearly a firm’s strengths. and introduce two new product lines. and sound financial management place the company in a good position to grow. However. expand its distribution. Blue Sky focuses on relationships. Its dedicated founders. In just three years. Blue Sky has also conducted research on the outdoor clothing market. weaknesses. Blue Sky believes it can create a sustainable competitive advantage over its rivals. Again relationships are a focus.

While all of the companies listed earlier can be considered competitors. Second. Blue Sky’s clothing is made . L. Cabello’s. Third. REI. which sells fleece clothing for skiers and hikers. Inc. ranging from clothing to equipment. building strong relationships with consumers. and Ragged Mountain. yet practical products provided by Blue Sky—and none carries the customized logos and slogans that Blue Sky pans to offer in the near future. consumers are looking for ways to enjoy their leisure time with friends and family without overspending.Table A SWOT Analysis for Blue Sky Clothing. Smaller competitors such as Title IX. retailers. consumers are participating in and i8nvesting in recreational activities that are near their homes. Bass Pro Shops. The outdoor apparel market has many entries. However. Bean. duplicate to products. also grab some of the market. and Patagonia are among the most recognizable companies that offer these products. With the exception of the fleece vests and jackets. consumers are gaining more confidence in the economy and are willing and able to spend more.L. In addition. most of these competitors sell performance apparel in hightech manufactured fabrics. The outlook for the industry in general—and Blue Sky in particular—is positive for several reasons. none offers the kind of trendy. and suppliers should help thwart competitors. COMPETITORS IN THE OUTDOOR CLOTHING MARKET The outdoor retail sales industry sells about $5 billion worth of goods annually. which offers athletic clothing for women. Timberland. First.

Blue Sky has not been distributed through national sporting goods and apparel chains. Over the next five years. Then they can add a slogan to match the logo. every product would bear the Blue Sky logo. For instance. more would be added later. Blue Sky plans to expand the product line to include customized clothing items. So far. The strongest part of the marketing mix for Blue Sky involves sales promotions. surf. Eventually.99. one future goal is to target consumers in the Mid-Atlantic states and Southwest as well. figure skate. and in northern New England. This strategy will keep the concept fresh and prevent it from becoming diluted with too many variations. cactus green. kayak.” They might not be experts at the sports they engage in. among others. By pinpointing where existing customers live. Blue Sky has identified its customers as active people between the ages of 25 and 45. Customers may select a logo that represents their sport —say rock climbing. Consumers can easily replace a set of shirts from one season to the next. that doesn’t mean someone who is 62 and prefers to read about the outdoors isn’t a potential customer as wll. but they enjoy themselves outdoors. and other such activities. However. and the Northwest. snowboard or ski. without having to think about the purchase.99. public relations. and nontraditional marketing strategies such as attending outdoor events and organizing activities like day hikes and bike rides. they like to “Go Play Outside. Finally. California. Current Blue Sky customers tend to live in northern New England. and fleece vests and jackets. rock climb. some slogans and logos would be retired. with a choice of logos and slogans. bicycle. PRODUCT STRATEGY. and new ones introduced. in-line skate. and a daypack. there would be ten new logos and five new slogans. Blue Sky is marketed through regional and local specialty shops scattered along the California coast. so it may be worn both on the hiking trail and around town. across the South.000 and $120. desert rise. Blue Sky can make plans for growth into new outlets.of strictly the highest quality cotton. which sell more T-shirts and baseball caps during warm weather and more fleece vests and jackets during colder months. All bear the company log and slogan. Household incomes generally range between $60. so they are attracted by the moderate pricing of Blue Sky products. picking up the newest colors. the South. these consumers are price conscious and consistently seek value in their purchases. Blue Sky obtains much of . In addition. consumers increasingly relate to the Blue Sky philosophy as well as the firm’s contributions to socially responsible programs. such as “Get over It. Climate and season tend to dictate the sales at specialty shops. In short. making them affordable in multiple quantities. Regardless of their age (whether they fall at the upper or lower end of the target range). ride horses. However. These active consumers represent a demographic group of well-educated and successful individuals. sunrise pink. A survey conducted by Blue Sky revealed that 67 percent of responding consumers prefer to replace their casual and active war more often that other clothing. Blue Sky products are offered at moderate prices. a Blue Sky T-shirt sells for $15.” At the beginning. and river rock gray. THE MARKETING MIX The following discussion outlines some of the details of the proposed marketing mix for Blue Sky products.” The firm has researched the most popular colors for its items and given them names that consumers enjoy—sunset red. compared with a competing high-performance T-shirt that sells for $29. Currently. they are single or married and raising families. They like to be associated with high-quality products but are not willing to pay a premium price for a certain brand. The second way in which Blue Sky plans to expand its product line is to offer items of lightweight luggage—two sizes of duffel bags. “Take a Spin. baseball caps.000 annually. They are somewhat status oriented but not overly so. two sizes of tote bags. Blue Sky currently offers a line of high-quality outdoor apparel items including cotton T-shirts.” A baseball cap with a bicyclist might bear the slogan. into the Northwest. THE TARGET MARKET The target market for Blue Sky products is active consumers between the ages of 25 and 45 —people who like to hike. “Go Play Outside. In addition. Despite their comfortable incomes. DISTRIBUTION STRATEGY. they lead active lifestyles. as the trend toward health-conscious activities and concerns about the natural environment continue. These items would also come in trendy an basic colors.

flexible organization. direct mailings. Blue Sky communicates with consumers and retailers about its products in a variety of ways. The firm has not yet determined whether it would be beneficial to sell through a major national chain such as REI or Bass Pro Shops. and rock climbing competitions with our Blue Sky truck to distribute free water. Nick Russell is currently working with several trip outfitters to offer Blue Sky items on a promotional basis. In addition. Information about Blue Sky—the company as well as its products—is available via the Internet. The company relies on personal contact with retailers to establish the products in their stores. and in person. thus distinguishing between Internet offerings and specialty ship offerings. skiers. Regardless of its expansion plans. Blue Sky plans to expand online sales by offering the customized product line via Internet only. During the next year. The firms’ promotional efforts also seek to differentiate its products from those of its competitors. Blue Sky sales representatives visit each store two or three times a year and offer in-store training on the features of the products for new retailers or for those who want a refresher. focusing next on the Southwest and Mid-Atlantic regions. stickers. helps convey the Blue Sky message. Because Blue Sky also engages in cause marketing through its contribution to environmental programs. Sales promotions and public relations currently make up the bulk of Blue Sky’s promotional strategy. bicycling events. and discount coupons for Blue Sky shirts or hats. in which several employees take turns driving around the country to campgrounds to distribute promotional items such as Blue Sky stickers and discount coupons Attend canoe and kayak races. This contact. As distribution expands. selecting a winning slogan and logo to be added to the customized line. PROMOTIONAL STRATEGY. good public relations have followed. Eventually we may be able to place internet kiosks at some of the more profitable store outlets so consumers could order customized products form the stores. Hold a Blue Sky design contest. Outdoor Industry Association. and discount coupons at outdoor sporting events. In addition. the firm can easily implement ideas such as distributing free water. Over the next three years. Blue Sky staff works with retailers to offer short-term sales promotions tied to event and contests. Organize Blue Sky hikes departing from participating retailers. demonstrate the products’ unique qualities. whether in-person or by phone. Blue Sky seeks to expand distribution to retail specialty shops throughout the nation. Blue Sky will adjust o meet greater demand by increasing sales staff to make sure it stores are visited more frequently. Because Blue Sky is a small. Blue Sky fully intends to monitor and maintain strong relationships with distribution channel members. . Nontraditional marketing methods that require little cash and a lot of creativity also lend themselves perfectly to Blue Sky. the company plans to engage in the following marketing efforts:     Create a Blue Sky Tour. and build relationships.its information about overall industry trends in different geographic areas and at different types of retail outlets from its trade organization. as these outlets could be considered competitors.

see the “Financial Analysis in Marketing” appendix on page A-1 of this book. including the introduction of the two new product lines. Figure A shows these three years. it does no have plans to exit the market by merging with another firm or making a public stock offering. The pricing strategy also makes Blue Sky products good gifts—for birthdays. BUDGET. Instead value pricing is practiced so that customers feel comfortable purchasing new clothing to replace the old. As discussed earlier in this plan.PRICING STRATEGY. . The luggage ill be priced competitively. Figure A Annaul Sales for Blue Sky Clothing: 2 An actual plan will include more specific financial details. Blue Sky has enjoyed a steady increase in sales since its introduction three years ago. Blue Sky products are priced with the competition in mind. Blue Sky states that at this stage. AND MONITORING Though its history is short. graduations. In addition. The firm is not concerned with setting high prices to signal luxury or prestige. which will be folded in to the overall business plan. or “just because. For more information. even if it is just because they like the new colors. plus projected sales for the nest three years. Additional financial data are included in the overall business plan for the company. offering a good value against it competition. nor is ti attempting to achieve the goals of offsetting low prices by selling high quantities of products. SCHEDULE.” The customized clothing will sell for $2 to $4 more than the regular Blue Sky logo clothing.

. At present. the firm plans to increase its presence in the market. there are no plans to merge with another company or to make a public stock offering. Instead. as discussed throughout this plan. Figure B Timeline for First Three Years of Marketing Plan Blue Sky anticipates continuing operations into the foreseeable future. The implementation of each of these tasks will be monitored closely and evaluated for its performance. with no plans to exit this market.The timeline for expansion of outlets and introduction of the two new product lines is shown in Figure B.

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